« Home | look ma, i'm on tv! » | more london fun » | london bridge » | across the pond » | nextfest » | uh oh... loose in nyc: » | games » | come out and play! » | various film stuff » | make do and mend » 

Sunday, October 15, 2006 

what do you mean we aren't press?

This past weekend in London's Regent's Park, just a short walk away from where we're staying, one of the biggest art fairs in the world took place. The Frieze Art Fair featured works from galleries all over the world, and buyers came from all over the world to make connections and purchases. With a ticket price of 18 pounds (that's about $35) just to walk in the door to the massive tent and wander the aisles, not just anybody attended. I felt so out of place and uncomfortable, it's not even funny. High class and their art just isn't for me.

So, why did I even go? Well, our class was putting together an audio documentary on the Frieze Fair to be broadcast on Resonance FM here in London. The piece I was working on was a Vox Pop, which is basically a short 3 minute piece that contains a few questions asked by the interviewers (us!), each one followed by a series of different responses we got. Our goal was to talk with 25 people of varying backgrounds, asking each of them the following four questions: What is your name and where are you from? What is your occupation? Briefly, how would you define art? What, if anything, have you seen today at the Frieze that you categorically dislike or might not consider to be art? Our original plan was to attend the fair on press day and blitz together our 1 hour show to be broadcast the next day, but it turns out that a bunch of college students aren't considered official press. Not even sweet talking from VIP John Schott (whose documentary from 1973 was being shown at the fair) could get us in that afternoon with the celebrities and press. Bummer. So, we had to attend on opening day, with all the lowly folks, who turned out to not be lowly at all.

I consider myself to be fairly cultured. I can enjoy a good museum, typically can recognize something famous when I see it, and figured I'd fit right in at Frieze. However, I didn't really anticipate the caliber of the other attendees. After an afternoon of wandering around trying to find people to interview, I can reasonably group them into two categories that I think describe the population of attendees fairly well. First were those who wouldn't talk with us, typically because they were too busy examining the art and didn't seem to care about a radio program being put together by some scrubby-looking college students. Then, there were the people who did talk with us. Our first two questions about demographics ended up being very telling: over half of the people we spoke with were not from the UK (and therefore had traveled very far to come to the Frieze), and many of our interviewees were very involved in the art world, either as artists, gallery owners, curators, or students (mostly at graduate levels). So, as an undergrad Psychology student who had taken all of one college art (actually media studies) class before coming on this program, I was thoroughly impressed by all the smart answers we got. People explained their feelings on art and the Frieze with such precision and thought and variety, and this was all in a completely on-the-spot interview. Way intimidating. All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't have to answer those questions and have my stuff edited in with all theirs.

The piece was cut together that evening and soon after incorporated into our 1 hour class show that will be broadcast sometime in the near future. I don't know the exact details, but check the main Roadtrip blog for more info as it comes.

As far as the art goes, there was some pretty awesome stuff there. I also saw quite a bit that I, well, didn't want to see, to say the least. Walking around in the Frieze was kind of like when I first got to London and kept accidentally glancing at the ads in the phone booths and doing a double take when I realized what they were for. But seriously, who would want some of that stuff hanging there on the wall in their posh little apartments? It's embarrassing. And one of those things I just don't understand and probably never will.